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Updated : 06/10/2014

living-abroad

Workers' and pensioners' residence rights

Staying abroad for up to 3 months

As an EU national, you have the right to stay in another EU country. If you stay there for less than 3 months, all you need is a valid identity card or passport.

In many EU countries, you need to carry a national identity card or passport at all times.

In these countries, you could be fined or temporarily detained if you leave your identity documents at home - but you cannot be expelled just for this.

Check whether there is any obligation to carry an ID or passport at all times in your host country:

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Common rights across EU countries


* Information not yet provided by national authorities

Reporting presence

Some EU countries require you to report your presence within a reasonable period of time after arrival and may impose a penalty, such as a fine, if you fail to do so.

Equal treatment

During your stay, you should be treated as a national of the country, notably as regards access to employment, pay, benefits facilitating access to work, enrolment in schools etc.

Even if you are staying as a tourist, you should not, for example, have to pay higher fees to visit museums or when buying transport tickets, etc.

Exception: If you are a pensioner, EU countries may decide not to grant you and your family income support for the first 3 months in the country.

Expulsion

Your new country can, in exceptional cases, decide to expel you on grounds of public policy, public security, or public health - but only if it can prove you represent a serious threat.

The expulsion decision must be given to you in writing. It must state all the grounds and specify how you can appeal and by when.

Staying abroad for more than 3 months

Workers

You have the right to live in any EU country where you work, are self-employed or have been posted to.

Job loss

If you lose your job while living in another country, you can keep your right to work and live there if you are:

  • temporarily unable to work because of illness or accident
  • registered with the relevant employment office as involuntarily unemployed after having been
    • employed for over a year on an indefinite contract
      or
    • employed for less than a year on a permanent contract (in this case, you retain the right to equal treatment with nationals for at least another 6 months)
  • beginning vocational training (if you are not involuntarily unemployed, the training must be related to your previous job).

Pensioners

If you are a pensioner you may live in any EU country if you have:

  • comprehensive health insurance cover there
  • sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support.

National authorities cannot require your income to be above the level that would qualify you for basic income support.

Registration

During the first 3 months of your stay in your new country, you cannot be required to register (to obtain a document confirming your right to stay) but can do so if you wish.

After 3 months in your new country, you may be required to register with the relevant authority (often the town hall or local police station).

Find out how to register your residence abroad .

Equal treatment

During your stay in your new country, you should be treated as a national of the country, notably as regards access to employment, pay, benefits facilitating access to work, enrolment in schools etc.

Request to leave / Expulsion

You may live in the other EU country as long as you continue to meet the conditions for residence. If you no longer do so, the national authorities may require you to leave.

In exceptional cases, your new country can decide to expel you on grounds of public policy or public security but only if it can prove you represent a very serious threat.

The expulsion decision or the request to leave must be given to you in writing. It must state all the grounds, and specify how you can appeal and by when.

Permanent residence

If you have lived legally in another EU country for 5 years continuously - as an employee, a pensioner or self-employed person - you automatically acquire the right of permanent residence there. This means that you can stay in the country as long as you want.

Your continuity of residence is not affected by:

  • temporary absences (less than 6 months a year)
  • longer absences for compulsory military service
  • one absence of 12 consecutive months, for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, work, vocational training or a posting to another country.

You can lose your right to permanent residence if you live outside the country for over 2 consecutive years.

Former employees and self-employed workers

You may qualify for permanent residence earlier, if you have stopped working because:

  • you have retired and have worked in the country for the last year or have lived there continuously for 3 years
  • you are no longer able to work and have lived in the country continuously for 2 years
  • you are no longer able to work due to an accident at work or occupational disease - in this case you have the right to remain regardless of how long you have lived in the country.

Permanent residence document

Find out how to have a permanent residence document issued to certify your right to stay unconditionally.

Equal treatment

During your permanent stay in another country, you should enjoy the same rights, benefits and advantages as nationals.

Expulsion

In exceptional cases, the country where you live can decide to expel you on grounds of public policy or public security but only if it can prove you represent a very serious threat.

The expulsion decision must be given to you in writing. It must state all the grounds and specify how you can appeal and by when.

Help and advice

Help and advice

Get in touch with specialised assistance services

Get advice on your EU rights / Solve problems with a public body

Footnote

or a national of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway

Retour au texte en cours.

In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Retour au texte en cours.

In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Retour au texte en cours.

In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Retour au texte en cours.